Re Scott’s post on the college fascination with Che Guevara:
The deputy American ambassador to Argentina muses from his office window while watching an anti-American demonstration replete with Che Guevara posters outside the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires:
He admitted a grudging admiration for Fidel Castro, who had taken a handful of men into the mountains of Cuba for training, then overthrown the Cuban government, and had been giving the finger to the world’s most powerful nation ever since.
But Guevara was another story. Guevara, an Argentine who was a doctor, had been Castro’s medic. But as far as Materson knew that was all he had ever done to successfully further the cause of communism. As a revolutionary, he had been a spectacular failure. His attempt to communize Africa had been a disaster. All it had taken to see him flee the African continent with his tail between his legs was a hundred-odd-man covert detachment of African-American Special Forces soldiers. And when he’d moved to Bolivia, an even smaller covert group of Green Berets, this one mostly made up of Cuban-Americans, had been waiting for him, not so much to frustrate his revolutionary ambitions as to make him a laughingstock all over Latin America.
The Green Berets had almost succeeded. For example, they had almost gleefully reported that Guevara had taken a detachment of his grandly-named Revolutionary Army on an overnight training exercise, promptly gotten lost in the boonies, drowned four of his men trying to cross a river, and taken two weeks to get back to his base, barely surviving on a diet of monkeys and other small but edible jungle animals. And when he got back to his base, Guevara had found that it was under surveillance by the Bolivian Army. A farmer had reported the Revolutionary Army to the government, in the belief that they were drug smugglers.
The president of Bolivia, however, was not amused, nor receptive to the idea that the best way to deal with Dr. Guevara was to publicly humiliate him. He ordered a quick summary court-martial—the bearing of arms with the intent of overthrowing a government by force and violence being punishable by death under international law—followed by a quick execution, and Guevara became a legend instead of a joke.
—From the novel, The Hostage, by W.E.B. Griffin (2005, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, publishers)
The novel is not very good, but I like that anecdote because it explains a lot.